Plan for bioretention pond at Keir Avenue.  Image by Canterbury Council - used with thanks.

Plan for bioretention pond at Keir Avenue. Image by Canterbury Council – used with thanks.

The red marker indicates the location of Keir Avenue. Click to enlarge.

The red marker on the far left indicates the location of Keir Avenue. Click to enlarge.

Canterbury Council plan two really wonderful projects for the Cooks River.  Both are located very close to the border of Marrickville municipality.

The first is a bioretention pond located beside the river at Keir Avenue Hurstone Park – see map.  The pond will be 120 square metres that will “potentially remove 87% suspended solids, 73% phosphorus & 41% nitrogen from stormwater runoff entering the Cooks River.”   120 sq metres of grass will be replaced with native vegetation planted by the community.   It is due to be completed by May 2014.

This is fantastic.  Canterbury Council’s choice to involve the community in planting the site will promote ownership & pride in the site & help lessen any vandalism.  It will also provide an opportunity to educate about stormwater issues about which many people may not be aware.  This is important because knowing & understanding often leads to a change in behaviour.

The bioretention pond will also add beauty & habitat in an area that is essentially a grass ditch.  This work will compliment all the wonderful work Sydney Water is about to do to revegetate large sections of the Cooks River.  I can’t wait to see this work finished.

The second is a very exciting initiative.  Canterbury Council plans to install a floating boom & trap across the river at Boat Harbour at Hurlstone Park.  Floating litter will be caught by the boom & directed by the water to the trap where it will be contained until it is cleaned.

This means tons of plastic bottles, polystyrene, plastic bits & other litter will not be left to catch in the mangroves polluting areas of habitat for fish & waterbirds.  Cleaning & maintenance will be partnered with Sydney Water.  The boom is expected to be in place between February & April 2014.

I am very excited about the floating boom, not just because of its function to collect litter in the river, but also because it is designed to offer safe perches for waterbirds.  They love sitting in the middle of the river, as this is their natural behaviour.  Unfortunately there are few places along the river for them to do this.

There are only a handful of trees the length from Tempe to Canterbury Road that has a branch that cascades over the river.  You can always find cormorants in these trees.  Any tree that falls into the river is full of perching cormorants during low tide, until the tree either disintegrates or is collected by some authority & removed.  A permanent structure like this floating boom will be most welcomed by the waterbirds, as well as the fish as it also offers them safety.

It will also make it easy for the community to know where the waterbirds will be located.   I believe that seeing the birds is for many people an important part of the recreation along the river.  A floating litter collection boom like this one is something Marrickville Council could consider installing as well.

Well done Canterbury Council.  Many residents of Marrickville LGA spend recreation time along your section of the river, so we get to benefit too.

Make Boat Harbour & 50-metres each side a wildlife sanctuary & I will be ecstatic.  🙂

Pelican landing at Boat Harbour

Pelican landing at Boat Harbour.  An old floating yellow boom can be seen in the river.  Waterbirds congregate on this boom, so the new one will be a real luxury for them.